by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Pundits tried to paint the Occupy movement as a left-of-center version of the Tea Party phenomenon. Now some see signs of a left-wing Tea Party brewing today. James Antle of the Washington Examiner explores the idea.
It could be a sign something unusual is afoot inside the Democratic Party this year. Women candidates have fared well in the primaries. Liberals have also scored some upsets against the party establishment. The Tea Party arguably started in Massachusetts when Republican Scott Brown claimed Ted Kennedy’s former Senate seat in a 2010 special election — eight years later, are we witnessing a Tea Party of the Left?
Many progressive organizations and allies of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., would like it to be so. The results are more complicated, however. Just look at Massachusetts: Three Democratic incumbents faced progressive primary challengers but only [Michael] Capuano lost. …
… Like the Tea Party on the Right, attitude can be as important as ideology. This is especially true when so many rank-and-file Democrats are angry and afraid under President Trump. But the Massachusetts experience isn’t exactly atypical: Plenty of establishment Democrats have beaten back progressive challengers this cycle, too.
Against Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., challenger Kevin de Leon won 11 percent of the vote and barely scraped into the general election despite the support of the “Bernie wing” of the party in the Golden State’s nonpartisan “jungle” primary. …
… Another difference with the Tea Party is that establishment Democrats have adapted faster than did their Republican counterparts. They have embraced things like expanding Medicare coverage and abolishing, or at least reforming, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, when facing tough primary challenges.